Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Australia and New Zealand prioritise Pacific Island Countries in disbursement of fast track finance

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

03 October 2011 Panama ---- Australia says it has disbursed more than a third of its fast start finance (FSF) since it was pledged in Copenhagen in 2009.

At an information sharing session here in Panama convened by the UN climate change secretariat, representative from donor and recipient countries shared lessons learnt from the disbursement of FSF finances set up to assist vulnerable nations adapt and mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

Both New Zealand and Australia revealed that more than 50 percent of their allocated FSF funds have been directed to small island developing countries in the Pacific.

In Copenhagen Australia pledged $599 million to the funds, which wealthy nations promised to give voluntarily to nations affected by climate change.

52 percent of its total commitment has been diverted to adaptation while the rest will go towards mitigation, said an Australian government representative on the panel discussion.

“Our pledge is grant based and has a strong focus on vulnerable and small island developing states and least developed countries.

“As of June this year a third of funds have been disbursed and another third by June 2012. By 30 June 2913, our pledged $599 million will be completely disbursed.

However, the Australia Government assured that fast start projects are long term engagements and will continue beyond 2013.

New Zealand on the other hand has disbursed its FSF funds through integrated projects in the Pacific region, which it says will benefits local communities.

“We find that good dialogue with partners and the local communities helps us to deliver quality climate change related projects to Pacific Island communities, said a New Zealand government official at the information sharing session.

However, the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS), whose membership represents most of the vulnerable countries being target by donor funding like the FSF say they need more clarification on how the funds are being used.

AOSIS representative listed seven issues that it thinks needs more discussion with the FSF donors.

These are timely provision of information on funding opportunities, predictability of pledges, balance between adaptation and mitigation, prioritisation of funded projects, criteria to access funds, loans and grants and promises of new and additional funding.

In Copenhagen, industrialised nations pledged US$10 billion a year from 2010-2012 as fast start finance and jointly mobilise US$100 billion by 2020.

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